The crackdown on meth labs in the US has made a difference, but only a small dent in the larger problem. Today, massive amounts of methamphetamine are smuggled into the US and more people than ever are using the drugs.
No headlines doesn’t mean no problem
When Breaking Bad went off the air, it wasn’t the end of the issue; there are just fewer people talking about it in the day-to-day. There are two reasons that meth isn’t a frontpage story today. The first is that the opioid epidemic is overshadowing the meth problem. The second reason is that production has shifted.
When meth was in the headlines, it often involved US labs. Today, people in the US mostly produce small quantities. The issue is that super labs in Mexico and elsewhere are making enormous quantities of the drug. These large scale productions also push the price lower and lower, which leads to greater abuse, more problems here in North Carolina, and more arrests. The DEA office in Greensboro reports a 2,000% increase in meth seizures over the past two years.
A flooding market drowns users
Cheap prices, large quantities and addiction are a recipe for trouble. While there are treatment centers throughout the state, the problem goes deeper than that. Addiction leads to arrest, financial troubles and broken homes. Addiction causes desperation, which causes a shockwave of other social issues.
So what do we do about it?
Every topic becomes political at some point. Many of the labs are based in Mexico. The Trump administration has made border security a priority, including to curb in the influence of international cartels within our own borders. It would be an understatement to say it’s been controversial and it’s too early to say if it’s been effective at slowing the meth issue here.
Other options include treatment centers, how police treat the users they arrest or investigate, and how the judicial system punishes people who are charged with breaking the law. It’s a complicated issue and people are touched by methamphetamine abuse in many ways.